Average Cycling Speed by Age

In nearly every cycling competition, speed is the most important factor. The faster you can cycle, the sooner you can cross the finish line. 

In some competitions, there are other factors to consider. For instance, the kind of stunts a cyclist performs or the size of the jumps a cyclist makes in a BMX race. 

In other races, such as off-road cycling, road races, and track races, the main objective is to cover the distance in the least amount of time possible, requiring speed. 

Average Cycling Speed by Age (Male vs. Female)

Generally, the average cycling speed by age reduces as people get older. Younger people between 30-39 tend to be the fastest cyclists. Men also tend to be faster cyclists than women, regardless of age. 

man and woman biking on the road

There are always some exceptions. For instance, Denise Mueller-Korenek, a female American cyclist, broke the world record for cycling speed in 2018 when she was 45. She managed to achieve a staggering speed of 183.9 MPH.

Men 

Age Avg Speed (MPH)
18-2418
25-2918.1
30-3418.3
35-3918.5
40-4418.1
45-4918
50-5417.9
Average male cycling speed by age

Related post: Men’s vs Women’s Bikes

Women 

Age Avg Speed (MPH)
18-2416.4
25-2917
30-3417.3
35-3916.9
40-4416.6
45-4916.3
50-5416.1
Average female cycling speed by age

Average Cycling Speed by Experience (Novice Vs. Expert)

Cycling speed can also vary a lot depending on experience level. The average speed of a hobbyist cyclist will be much lower than that of a professional competing in the Tour de France. When comparing your average speed, you should know who you are comparing it to. 

male cyclists competing in a road bike race

This chart will give you an idea of the difference in speed of cyclists from varying experience levels. 

Experience Level Avg For 1Hr Ride (MPH)
Beginner8-12
Intermediate12-16
Experienced16-24
Professional24+
Average cycling speed by experience level

How To Calculate Your Own Cycling Speed?

cycling speeding down road

The simplest approach is to divide time traveled by distance covered.

As:

Speed = Distance / Time 

So, if you have cycled 40 miles in 3 hours, that would be:

40 miles / 3 hours = 13.3 miles per hour.

To apply this formula, you only need to know the distance and time. Cycling on a closed circuit helps you measure the exact distance between the start and finish line. You can use a stopwatch or just note your starting and finishing time to calculate how long it took. 

You can apply the formula mentioned above with these two bits of information. 

Alternatively, you could also use an app on your phone and keep the phone with you while you cycle. Using the GPS, the app will track how fast you are covering the distance in real-time, show you your speed, and give you a summary of your circuit when you’re done. 

Some hobbyists prefer to use a device that can be installed on their cycle to give them an idea of their speed. These are usually inexpensive devices that can either function independently or be paired with an app where they display the necessary information. 

What’s A Good Average Speed for a Beginner Cyclist?

Around 12 mph is a great starting point. 

This can vary depending on your age, physical fitness, riding style, cycle type, terrain, and several other factors. 

For the average hobbyist cyclist, anything around the 8-12 mph range will be a good starting point on flat terrain

a family of 7 cyclists biking

Factors Affecting Cycling Speed

Cycling speed is influenced by physical factors, environmental factors, physiological factors, and the bike’s condition. In more detail, let’s look at a few of the most important factors. 

Terrain 

cyclist on off road trail

Average cycling speed is determined when cycling on flat ground and a level surface such as tarmac or a proper racing track. 

Cycling off-road can be incredibly fast, but that isn’t the best measure of speed. It’s also helpful to have good conditions, such as not having a wet road or one layered with ice. 

If you’re a new cyclist, you should start with simple terrains and develop your speed and skill before venturing onto more challenging conditions. 

Weather

weather forecast

The weather, and even the time of day, impact your speed. Cycling at night is usually slower because visibility decreases and more risk is involved. 

Similarly, if you are biking in the rain, not only are you facing a wet surface, but you also have rain in your eyes, your bike is wet, and you weigh more because of the water on your clothes and gear. 

In these conditions, it is only sensible to slow down. Test yourself in fair weather conditions if you want a clear picture of how fast you are. 

Distance 

This is one that people often overlook. A shorter distance will be useful if you are measuring top speed. A short to medium distance will be best if you want to measure the average cycling speed. 

As you increase the distance, your average cycling speed will start to fall because fatigue sets in, and keeping a high per-mile speed throughout 50, 80, or a hundred miles will be challenging. 

If you have a fixed distance, say your route to work, then keep this as your benchmark and measure your speed over this route. 

man cycling in the rain beside cars in traffic
Wet weather = slower speed.

Fitness 

Rider fitness plays a big role. Even though you are seated while you cycle, cycling involves the entire body, not just the legs. Everything from your core to your shoulders to your quads and calves must be in good shape. 

More importantly, you also need to have good cardiovascular health. If you’re cycling over long distances, then having good stamina will be even more important. You may get off to a very quick start, but without good stamina, you will slow down in a few miles, hurting your overall average speed. 

Related post: Wholesome effect of cycling on body shape

Weight 

cyclist biking on asphalt road

The power-to-weight ratio is very important in cycling. Getting bigger and stronger is helpful only to a certain degree. Beyond that point, your added mass, even in the form of muscles, will only increase the overall load you need to move. 

This is also why your bike type matters: some cycles can weigh as little as 10 pounds while others can weigh 40 or more. 

While it might not sound like a lot on paper, when you are on the road, facing headwinds, facing a steep hill, tired, dehydrated, and hurting all over, those few pounds can make a lot of difference. 

This is why road bikes, also known as speed bikes, are often made from carbon fiber to help keep their weight as low as possible. 

Type Of Cycle

If you are going purely for speed, your best bet is to get a solid road bike. Mountain bikes are fast, but getting them to that speed is much harder, and they don’t maintain that momentum very well. 

Alternatively, you could get a motorized electric cycle if you’re looking for something easy to move that will help you pick up speed quickly. 

guy and girl riding ebikes on cobbled stone street
Ebikes are faster!

Related post: Benefits of eBikes

How To Increase Your Cycling Speed

Whether cycling for pleasure or for sport, it always helps to be able to cycle a bit faster. Here are a few things you can work on to improve speed. 

Pedaling

Try to develop a good cadence and a fluid pedaling rhythm. Too many cyclists have an imbalanced rhythm where they push full power at the top and drag their legs through the bottom. 

Pedaling properly will help you drive more power to the wheels while putting less strain on your muscles. 

Braking

bicycle-brakes

Once you gain momentum, you must maintain it for as long as possible. Sudden braking and using the brakes for every little bump or corner will hurt the overall average speed of the run. 

Ideally, you want to limit braking to situations where you have absolutely no other choice. Be smart about your braking to slow down enough to gain control and limit the momentum you lose as you brake. 

Aerodynamics

The kind of clothes you wear, the gear you carry, the helmet you choose, and even the weight of the different things you have on your bike play a role in your aerodynamics and, consequently, your speed. 

Make yourself as compact as possible and get light gear to help you gain speed and maintain it easily. 

Related post: Mountain bike vs Road bike

Final Thoughts

When it comes to being quick on a bike, many factors are at play. The top cyclists in the world invest in every little part of their gear and every aspect of their mental and physical training to be the best. 

You won’t see massive improvement overnight. Gradually slicing seconds off your lap time and adding speed and momentum to each lap is how you develop skills that will eventually make you a faster cyclist.